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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > May 2018 > walking ancestral homelands

walking ancestral homelands

Step into the past with David Venner as he walks in the footsteps of his forebears along a 50-mile waterside trail in Somerset, which links his ancestral home near the river’s source with his own birthplace, near its mouth. Along the way, he discovers family connections with the countryside and towns back to the 16th century, and the records that have helped him trace them. Follow his suggestions to shed light on the lives of your ancestors too


David Venner at the start of the Parrett Trail in Somerset, taken by his wife, Sue, who accompanied him A beautiful misty morning on the River Parrett Trail, where David and Sue embarked on their unusual ancestral journey


Find a freely available digitis ed copy of The Visitation of the County of D evon in the Year 1620 (1872) on the Internet Archive at

Walking through our ancestors’ ‘home country’, rather than driving to each farm, village or town where they lived, is an ideal way of seeing the country as they would have seen it, of actually experiencing the half-hour walk to school or the five-mile walk to the nearest market town. Naturally, many features of life have changed – the growth of settlements, fast travel and ROUTES TO THE PAST instant communication to name just three – but the lie of the land is much the same and often old buildings survive to take us straight back to the times of our earliest known ancestors.

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About Family Tree

Where are you going to take your family history this spring? From planning a trip to The National Archives to a meander down memory lane, there are so many choices... I bet there are few among us whose hearts don’t gladden when spring is in the air, and this issue we’ve got all sorts of ideas to help you get out and about and enjoying your family history. Whether you’re going to pay a visit to the archives, or plan a day out or weekend away to the places where your family once came from, it’s sure to add so much to what you know about your ancestors’ lives. It’s definitely true – the more we look, the more we learn. Have fun!